BEIJING – Zheng Jie might have made the Wimbledon singles semi-finals, but doubles remains her focus at the Beijing Olympics where she will again team with Yan Zi in search of gold.
The 25-year-old created history earlier this month by becoming the first Chinese player to reach a Grand Slam semi, a sensational run that generated anticipation here that the country can claim an Olympic singles medal.
But while Zheng will play singles in Beijing, her focus is firmly on doubles.
“After the August Olympics I might put more efforts on the singles, but as for the Beijing Games, my focus is still on the doubles,” she told Xinhua news agency.
“Everybody wants more medals, but I think my partner Yan Zi and I appear more hopeful in the women’s doubles and we have been preparing for it for a long time.”
Zheng, ranked 133 in the world, beat three seeded players at Wimbledon, including a stunning straight sets defeat of world number one Ana Ivanovic in the third round.
While it was her best singles performance, she has won 11 doubles titles with Yan, including the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the Asian Games.
With Yan she is considered the best chance that China has of retaining the Olympic women’s doubles gold medal won by Sun Tiantian and Li Ting in Athens.
At Beijing, Sun will team up with Peng Shuai.
As well as Zheng, former world top 20 player Li Na, who has struggled with injury, will also play singles, as will Yan and Peng.
It is first time China has clinched four entries in the event since the sport returned to the Olympics in 1988.
“It is tough to make the last four at Wimbledon. The success gave me a lot more confidence for the Beijing Games,” said Zheng.
Channel News Asia